Every August for more than two decades, Natalie Sillery has fitted models, invited designers and presented the Saratoga Fashion Show, all while running her shop, Saratoga Trunk.
The show has been a popular event for years, usually taking place around the Travers Stakes festivities. However, this year's show marks the end of that tradition.
“Every fashion show has a finale. This is the final fashion finale,” Sillery said.
The show, which will be held today at the 1863 Club, raises money for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Capital Region.
“This has been my vehicle for 22 years to raise awareness, support [and] money. I tell people it’s not only a fundraiser, it’s become a real friend-raiser,” Sillery said.
In true finale fashion, Sillery invited fashion designer Don O’Neill and Evelyn Anastos, president of Theia, the Thoroughbred of Style, to chair the show.
O’Neill has designed for celebrities like Oprah, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood and, most recently, the Duchess of Sussex Megan Markle.
“In just a little less than nine years [Don] has catapulted to world-renowned fame,” Sillery said, adding, “I mean the man is amazing and he’s as humble as they come.”
In the midst of designing with Theia, he’s worked with Sillery over the last decade and has been involved with the Saratoga Fashion Show for nearly as long.
It’s part of the reason why this year’s show will be somewhat nostalgic.
Sixty-three women from across the Capital Region, wearing Theia pieces from the past and present are slated to walk in the show.
“People will be wearing Theia pieces they own themselves that they might have gotten five years ago. It will be a fashion parade of sorts. Don will have an opportunity to truly walk down memory lane with everybody that he’s encountered up here in the Saratoga area,” Sillery said.
As for the models, it’ll be a reunion of sorts.
"A lot of them have been in every show since I started, some are brand new, some are a couple of years in,” Sillery said.
Beyond the looks from a few years ago, the show will feature pieces from Theia’s newest collection, as well as what’s being called the Megan Markle dress, featuring cap sleeves and beading details on the shoulders. O’Neill designed it for Markle in 2018 and the dress quickly became popular around the world.
While planning the show in a new space was challenging—the show used to be held in At the Rail Pavilion, which was recently renovated and renamed the 1863 Club—Sillery feels that the show will still be the successful event it’s always been.
The Ronald McDonald House Charities expects more than 400 guests to attend.
“We had a great run for 21 years with the show. It’s done its job; it’s a good legacy,” Sillery said.
In the future, Sillery plans to continue to assist with fundraising efforts for the Ronald McDonald House Charities as a development associate.
Doors to the show open at 11 a.m. Tickets are $230-300. For more info visit rmhcofalbany.org.